In honor of the Labor Day holiday, I labored. I woke up eager to make a dent in grading for both of my introductory psychology courses. Everything is different in my classes right now, so everything takes more time.
I dove right in with my coffee and felt productive. Somehow, it was already nearly 10 am and I had yet to ride my exercise bike or do any of my exercises.
I didn’t want to.
My legs didn’t want to. They were tired from yesterday’s bike ride, being in the pool, standing and walking around at a party. My back hurt, my pump hurt, and I was just not motivated.
The conversation with myself sounded much like a conversation you might have with a four or five-year-old child whom you would like to eat their vegetables.
Bratty Tawny: But, I don’t want to.
The Tawny: But, you know you will feel better.
Bratty Tawny: Ugh. I don’t feel like doing it.
The Tawny: But, you need to get stronger.
Bratty Tawny: I know. Maybe I will wait until later.
The Tawny: No, you know you won’t do it at all if you wait until later.
Bratty Tawny: But my pump hurts.
The Tawny: It doesn’t matter. You know you need to do this.
Bratty Tawny: I guess I will do it, but for the record, I don’t want to.
The Tawny: You can play a game on the iPad as you do it. It will be fun.
Bratty Tawny: Blah. Blah. Blah. I already said I would do it.
It was a rather ridiculous thirty minutes of some version of this over and over. I rode my stationary bike for 30 minutes, then stretched and did my other exercises. It wasn’t a big deal, but I did have to banter back and forth like this to make myself do it.
Yes, it makes me feel better.
Yes, it is part of the overall rehabilitation plan.
But that doesn’t mean I am always ready to hop on the bike and go every morning. It was much easier to exercise walking my dogs.
I started thinking about the different methods I use to motivate myself to do the things I know need to get done. For instance, I rewarded myself by playing 15 minutes of Words with Friends just to wash my dishes yesterday.
My reward for working all day Saturday and on Labor Day was being able to go to a party with friends Sunday. One of my students shared that she appreciated how involved I am in our class discussions. That sure makes working easier when most folks are having a barbecue.
My reward for finishing this blog is going to be some quality time with my dogs before starting back to working. My face has been in this computer screen since 7 am and my dogs are patiently waiting.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated? Do you set up a reward system too? Are your rewards healthy for you?